With the 2021 Frontier League season winding down, the New Jersey Jackals are looking to end what has been a disappointing first year in the Frontier League on a high note. They would end up taking a big step in doing just that when they welcomed the New York Boulders this past weekend for a three-game series. The Jackals won two of the three games, giving them their first series win at home in over six weeks.
The opening game of the series on Aug. 27 would be a one-sided affair to say the least. New Jersey's bats came alive in this one scoring 12 total runs. Josh Rehwaldt had a big game, going 3-for-5 with five RBI including a three-run home run, his sixth of the season. Todd Isaacs also had a home run as well, a two-run shot for his ninth of the season. Santiago Chirino finished the game going 2-for-4 with multiple RBI. Jared Milch had a strong outing for the Jackals on the mound, going seven innings allowing just two runs while striking out eight. New Jersey ended up routing New York by the final of 12-3.
The middle game on Aug. 28, the New Jersey Jackals took the field as the Jersey Wise Guys on the team's alter-ego promotion night at Yogi Berra Stadium. Like the game yesterday, this game would be a one-sided affair, but this time with Jersey being on the receiving end of the blowout. Staring pitcher Christian Tessitore had a rough outing on the mound for the Jackals, going three innings allowing nine runs, all earned. Furthermore, the Jackals lineup was completely shut down by Boulders starter Danny Wirchansky, as he tossed seven shutout innings allowing just four hits and striking out seven. The Boulders would go on to rout the Jackals 9-0 in the shutout.
Coming into the 2021 season, one of the New Jersey Jackals most exciting signings was the signing of Ronald Herrera. The now 26-year old right-handed pitcher had previously played seven seasons in Minor League Baseball and pitched three innings for the New York Yankees in 2017. There was a lot of optimism surrounding what Herrera could potentially bring to the Jackals pitching staff during their first season in the Frontier League. However, the injury bug had different plans as Herrera went down with a hand injury before the season began.
After missing the first two and a half months of the season rehabbing the injury, Herrera was activated on Aug. 11. Two weeks later on Aug. 29, he made his Jackals home debut at Yogi Berra Stadium, just 21 miles away from where Herrera played pro-ball. Herrera was nothing short of impressive in his first home start as a Jackal, tossing seven innings allowing just two earned runs.
"It's amazing bro," said Ronald Herrera. "Got this opportunity again. It feels so good to be here doing what I love. I'm so grateful to be back." When asked if he felt any homecoming vibes playing so close to where he played in the major leagues, Herrera said "Yes. I'm feeling really good right now. My arm is feeling good. So that's the most important thing for me."
The Jackals offense wouldn't let Herrera's start go to waste, as they went on to score four runs. Santiago Chirino had the big hit of the game, crushing one into the left-center field gap for a two-run double in the bottom of the fourth. He finished the game going 2-for-4, with two RBI, his second multi-hit and multi-RBI game of the series. New Jersey went on to win the game 4-3, giving them their first series win at home since July 11-13 when they took two of three from Equipe Québec.
What's To Come For Jackals
The New Jersey Jackals are currently 34-47 on the season, third place in the Northeast Division and 12 games out of first. They'll head on the road one last time on this 2021 season as they head to Tri-City for three games against the ValleyCats on Aug. 31, then head to Canada for four games against Equipe Québec starting Sept. 3. The Jackals will return home to close out the season with three games against the Washington Wild Things starting Sept. 7 and three games against the Boulders starting Sept. 10.